Why do we have this capacity to mutually adapt to each other in time? It has been described as being a fundamental human capacity essential for us to be social (Cross 2006). From an evolutionary perspective, it has been postulated that the key lies in motherese (carer–baby talk) and has some relation to the lengthening of childhood that came about with the modern humanoid, Homo sapiens.
Motherese and the ‘childhood patterns of thoughts and behaviour’ are the necessary training in this fundamental capacity of mutual adaptation, giving a better chance of survival in adulthood. The rational for this is the possible link between the capacity of mutual adaptation evolving with the emergence of music that occurs at the same time as the evolution of Homo sapiens. Cross (2008) defines music as ‘embodying, entraining, and transposably intentionalizing time in sound and action’ and suggests that human infants in motherese and in childhood patterns ‘appear to engage in activities that share those attributes’ of music. Further, he says that ‘musics can be construed as cultural particularizations of those infant/childhood interactive and individual behaviours’. Music is as fundamental as language in many societies and is not just about patterns of sounds but ‘overt action’. The qualities of music may be said to be part of action and cognition in interpersonal synchrony.